A FASCINATING collection of fragile books are set to go on show to the public for the first time in the city.
Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service (WAAS), based at The Hive, has been given £15,000 to look after account books from the Croome Estate which date back almost 300 years.
The service has already held the books for four years, but years of heavy use and storage in damp conditions meant they had mould, were very fragile and could not be put on public display.
But the grant from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust means they will be conserved by WAAS’s professional conservator, and then be available to be used by visitors to the archive and archaeology service, as well as in exhibitions.
Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities at Worcestershire County Council, said: “Museums and galleries across Worcestershire play a vital role in supporting tourism, the economy and local communities.
“The Croome Estate Collection is a very worthy project and the funding will make a notable and important addition to Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service.”
The account books cover 1719 to 1915, which includes the period when the house and gardens were transformed by Capability Brown.
The Coventry Family archive was given to the country under the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme five years ago, and was passed to Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service for safekeeping.
The collection, which related to the family of the Earls of Coventry and the Croome Estate, is heavily used by researchers and family and local historians, as well as the National Trust as they use it to help restore the house and grounds.
Adrian Gregson, collections manager, added: “This is great news as it means this important piece of the county’s heritage can be conserved and then made available for people to use.
“It’s not uncommon that documents come to us in poor condition, but here in The Hive they can be looked after in our state of the art strongrooms, approved as a place of deposit by The National Archives, and cared for by our conservator.”